Reggae icon Bunny Wailer dies at 73

Bunny Wailer is the last living original member of the legendary reggae group The Wailers. He recently finished his first US tour in more than 20 year

Reggae icon Bunny Wailer has died.

The 73-year-old legend passed away minutes to eight this morning at the Medical Associates Hospital in Kingston, his manager Maxine Stowe confirmed to The Gleaner.

“The family will be putting together a release to officially announce Jah B’s passing,” Stowe said.

The reggae icon suffered what was reported as a minor stroke in 2018 and a subsequent one last year, shortly after his partner of 50 years, Jean Watt, went missing. He had been in rehabilitation, with Stowe constantly by his side.

Bunny Wailer, whose real name is Neville O’Riley Livingston, was an original member of reggae group The Wailers along with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.

A three-time Grammy Award winner, he is considered one of the long-time standard-bearers of reggae music.

Marley and Tosh predeceased him.

Jamaican chef turns up heat in cold Buffalo – Salt River boy makes it big in celebrity kitchens

Jamaican chef Darian Bryan has been cooking up a storm in Buffalo and all over the United States.

Darian Bryan has come a far way from whipping up meals in a humble Clarendon village restaurant to tantalizing the taste buds of power brokers with gourmet creations.

Today, nine years after migrating to the United States, Bryan is the personal chef to a number of NFL and hockey league players, carving out a niche on the food circuit in Buffalo, New York. The dizzying heights represent a remarkable path to success that wasn’t first plotted when he was flipping burgers at Denny’s.

Bryan’s culinary journey began in the seaside village of Salt River. After attending Old Harbour Primary and José Marti High, he worked for two years with Jamaica Broilers before following in his mother’s footsteps to the United States.

Bryan recalled how at age 15 after his mother had left for America, he ran his mother’s bar and cookshop in Salt River while attending school.

“I would cook in the restaurant on Saturdays and Sundays after my mother migrated. My sisters would take care of the business while I am at school, but I was doing all the cooking,” he said.

After migrating to the US in 2012 at age 20, Bryan is now the personal chef to more than 15 NFL and NHL players.

Cooking was always his passion, having learned the art at his mother’s side.

Bryan first followed his dream by enrolling in culinary school at Erie Community College in Buffalo, where he settled after migrating. His next step was studying hospitality management at Buffalo State College, where he was voted most outstanding hospitality student.

After graduating, he honed his skill at a number of top-flight restaurants in the Buffalo area.

His life took a turn when he had a chance meeting with then Buffalo Bills cornerback Vontae Davis.

“I was working at this restaurant and he walked in. I did not know who he was, but I was happy to see another black person,” Bryan told The Gleaner.

“We started talking and he wanted to know who was the chef. I told him me, and he said he wanted me to cook for him, and so began my relationship with him.”

Word about Bryan’s gastronomic chops soon spread like wildfire and led to him becoming the personal chef to Bills running back Stephon Dicks. Soon he had more NFL and hockey stars eating out of his hands.

He caters to several of them outside of New York state when they head south to escape Buffalo’s cold climes in the winter.

Apart from wining and dining sports celebrities, Bryan is also the founder of The Plating Society, which provides pop-up catering – ad hoc settings where people want to meet outside formal restaurants.

Wearing his trademark fedora as he cooks and belts out Bob Marley songs, Bryan loves to provide new and exciting experiences for his guests, cultivating a cult following with large helpings of personality.

He has been a staple on the circuit, appearing at the Erie County Fair, as well as Top Taste Buffalo County Fair. He has won the Buffalo Iron Chef competition and placed second in the national Iron Chef championship.


Personal flair is as much a part of his aura as his flavour.

“I never wanted to be the average guy. I wanted to make my mom proud,” said Bryan.

Loyalty to his mother is a theme that runs through his life story.

Althea Allen still beams with pride at the mere mention of her son’s accomplishments.

“I always knew that he would accomplish a lot. Since he was small, he was always experimenting with cooking different dishes, so I am not surprised by what he has achieved,” Allen told The Gleaner.

Known as ‘Tilly’ back in Salt River, the single mom raised Bryan along with her five daughters.

“I always told him that he would do good. He has accomplished much, but he still has heights to climb,” she said.

The other lesson Allen said she taught Bryan was never to forget his roots.

Jessica Bryan, Darian’s wife, said that his success can be attributed to his hard work, drive, and his personality.

Mrs. Bryan, who handles the marketing, branding, and financials for the business, said that her husband’s easy-going, outgoing personality contributes handily to his magnetic appeal.

“I love working with him. His food is delicious. He has taught me about herbs and spices and how to use them to enhance meals. He has opened up a whole new world of foods to me, an American girl who existed on pizza and such,” she said.

A mother of two – Darian Jr and Nina –Mrs. Bryan said they will be opening their own Plating Society restaurant in May in the Buffalo area.

Chef Bryan urges Jamaican youth at home or in the diaspora to stay grounded. His advice to them is simple yet profound: Have a big vision, write down your goals, and plug away at them.

He encourages young people to find something they love doing and spend their lives going after it.

“I have many young people calling me asking about being a chef because it looks cool. The question I ask is, do you love cooking? If you don’t, then look for something you love doing,” Bryan told The Gleaner.

“Cooking is hard, and you must love doing it, or else you are going to move on when it gets tough.”

Ronnie Nasralla Was The ‘Paint On The Wall’ – Friends Pay Tribute To ‘Gentle Giant’


Acting Governor-General, Sir Herbert Duffus (right), followed by Lady Duffus (in the background) is escorted by Ronnie Nasralla, chairman of the Nuggets for the Needy Drive, into the Regal Theatre ahead of the show. Nasralla died on Wednesday at his Atlanta, Georgia home. He was 90.

In 1964, when the Jamaica Tourist Board and record label owner and producer Edward Seaga arranged for band-leader, Byron Lee, to take a ska group to the New York World’s Fair to showcase Jamaica and its music, band manager Ronnie Nasralla was very much a part of this historic delegation. A fantastic dancer, Nasralla is even credited with helping to teach the world how to ska. At the fair, Byron Lee and the Dragonaires worked their own set and was also backing Prince Buster, Eric Morris, and Peter Tosh. Reports from that era say they were all a sensation at the fair.

Nasralla, the supreme showman, an accomplished athlete, and advertiser, passed away peacefully on Wednesday at his home in Atlanta, Georgia. He is remembered as the “paint on the wall”.

“Ronnie gives the wall its colour,” keyboardist and music director for Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, Neville Hinds, told The Gleaner. “He was with the band from the early days and he and Byron were a force. Ronnie was managing Toots and the Maytals, the Blues Buster, as well as Byron Lee and the Dragoniares. He had a record label in the 60s, BMN, which did a lot of early work with Toots and the Maytals. Never You Change, the big festival song Bam Bam and Daddy were all released on Ronnie’s label,” Hinds recalled.


The musician said there were “so many stories” about Nasralla, the Jamaican of Lebanese descent (his father was Lebanese and his mother Jamaican) who managed and promoted Byron Lee and the Dragonaires for 35 years. Nasralla was responsible for helping to take the band’s name across the globe and even managed to get them a spot in the first-ever James Bond flick, Dr. No (1962) which was filmed in Jamaica. Byron Lee and the Dragonaires appeared in the film and performed most of the music on the later soundtrack album. Nasralla himself is also in the movie and is seen dancing in the Port Royal bar scene. Hinds also mentioned Nasralla’s role in the annual charity event, Nuggets for the Needy. “Byron Lee and the Dragonaires was an integral part of that for years,” he said.

Singer, Tony Gregory, paid tribute to Nasralla who he called a gentle giant. “Ronnie was instrumental in me joining Byron Lee and the Dragonaires in 1960. He was the band manager and Byron’s associate in many areas. They were a part of that St George’s College alumni. And, one thing about Ronnie, he was an incredible dancer,” Gregory, who said he last saw him in 2010, told The Gleaner.

Writer and music industry guru, Dave Rodney, knew Nasralla quite well. “I actually heard about Ronnie before I met him, from his packaging of ‘Bubbling Brown Sugar’ shows at Half-Way Tree’s famous Glass Bucket Club with Kingston’s beautiful jet-set with Evelyn Andrade and Judy Willoughby. We crossed paths many years later while he was an advertising executive and his passion for everything he touched was unrelenting. His kindness too was legendary. He was a multi-talented actor in LTM pantomimes, a dancer, a founding member of Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, and pioneer of the first fashion model contest. Jamaica, and especially entertainment, owes him a debt of gratitude,” Rodney told The Gleaner.


Bellyful Of Laughter At ‘Comedy Cook-Up’

They promised a bellyful of laughter and that is exactly what viewers got as they tuned into the inaugural virtual staging of Ity and Fancy Cat’s annual ‘Christmas Comedy Cook-up’. Forced to go online this year as a result of the prolonged ban on entertainment events, the show still saw an envious line-up of top-class comedic acts from home and abroad. In fact, had it not been for the jokes from the performers about adjusting to the online space, viewers would have completely forgotten that they were not physically present at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

The show, which was aired on its usual December 26 date, saw performances from seasoned comedians such as Leighton Smith, Kathy ‘Tan Deh Deh’ Grant, Dahlia Harris, Owen ‘Blakka’ Ellis and Christopher ‘Johnny’ Daley, among others. Opening the night’s jam-packed itinerary was Leighton Smith. With his usual laid-back, unassuming yet clinically precise delivery, Smith no doubt had the virtual viewing land in tears as he served up one sizzling joke after the other. Not one punchline was missed as the veteran comedian made light of the COVID-19 situation and its effect on the entertainment industry.

“Thank God dis yah show keep. I called Ity and I said to him, ‘Yuh affi keep dis, innu, because a it mi plan fi use pay me rent, it affi keep,’” he said, highlighting how hard the sector shutdown has been for creatives like himself. “Can you imagine if technology never out and COVID come in, anuh the virus woulda kill we innu, just the fact dat yuh nah see nobody, hear from nobody alone woulda kill we. Unuh see how me dress up nice and come yah, a because mi know me a go live and thing, and me feel good and new.”


Still on the topic of COVID-19, Smith sought to reassure viewers that the virus’ reign of terror must come to an end eventually. “Me study COVID and I’m here to tell the world why dem nuffi be afraid of it. Anything make a China, it nuh last long. And now that COVID come from China, it nah go last long,” he said, while still imploring persons to be careful not to catch it. “But mi a beg unu, try nuh ketch it; for if yuh ketch it, yuh know say yuh nah go last long, either,” he joked.

There were no stones left unturned as each performer creatively turned the harsh realities of life with COVID-19 into comedic relief. From the struggles of being locked in a house with one’s kids for almost a year to the heartaches of online schooling, every COVID-19 issue was made light of. One woman who must have had viewers rolling on the floors of their bedrooms or living rooms was Kathy ‘Tan Deh Deh’ Grant. The comedian, who doubles as a teacher, joked about parents now having to take on the role of teachers as they supervise their children in online school. “Having the kids at home stress unu, nuh true? Mi nuh wah school open back. Unu fi dead a unu yard because unu have one a unu yard and it a stress unu out so, can you imagine me wid 45 a fi unu pickney in front a me? Stress me out. Dem fi stay home because unu know say unu nuh appreciate teachers,” she said. “When Teachers’ Day come, why we can’t get a Range Rover? What is wrong wid a likkle Range Rover or an inverter AC? Unu affi do better because unu nuh see weh unu a go chu? Unu need fi take care a teachers more.” The jokes kept coming as Grant delivered a superb set that went by so quickly, she didn’t even realise when her time was up. Had it been an in-person event, I am sure she would have been called back on stage to give an encore performance.

Other noteworthy performances came from Canadian comedian Jay Martin and American comedienne Gina Brillione. Seasoned local acts Owen ‘Blakka’ Ellis and Christopher ‘Johnny’ Daley also turned in good performances. Ellis took viewers on a trip down memory lane as he reminisced on the entertainment days of yesteryears, highlighting the differences between then and now, and why the music of the past still lives on. Daley, who was the evening’s closing act, said COVID taught him a lot and urged viewers not to take the frustrations of 2020 into the new year.


Source: Jamaica Gleaner

Jamaican couple dies from hit-and-run crash in Queens, New York

Partners Donovan Gibbon and Thelma Reid

Police authorities in the United States are trying to locate the driver of a pick-up truck that was involved in a hit-and-run crash that claimed the lives of a Jamaican couple in Queens, New York on New Year’s Day.

The deceased are 57-year-old Donovan Gibbon and 60-year-old Thelma Reid, both of Queens.

They were married in 2013 and worked at LSG Sky Chef’s catering company at John F Kennedy Airport, New York Daily News reported.

It is alleged that on Friday, January 1, at about 5 am, Gibbon and Reid were in a blue Nissan Rogue when a grey Dodge Ram T-boned them in Far Rockaway.

Both Reid, who was driving, and Gibbon, in the passenger seat, were pinned down in the sedan, reports further stated.

The truck’s driver managed to get out of the mangled wreck, leaving two passengers behind.

Medics later arrived at the scene and found the Jamaican couple unconscious. They were rushed to the hospital, where they died.

One of the injured men in the truck was hospitalized in stable condition, while another has been taken into custody after arguing with the police, the New York Times indicated.

A search is still on for the truck driver.

US airport traffic rising despite holiday travel warnings

SAN RAMON, California (AP) — More than one million people have passed through US airport security checkpoints in each of the past two days in a sign that public health pleas to avoid holiday travel are being ignored, despite an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases.

It marks the first time US airports have screened more than one million passengers since November 29. That came at the end of a Thanksgiving weekend that saw far more travel around the country than had been hoped as the weather turned colder and COVID-19 cases were already spiking again.

Now, hospitals in many areas are being overwhelmed amid the largest outbreak of COVID-19 in the US since March, when most Americans were ordered to stay home and avoid interactions with other households.

The seven-day rolling average of newly reported infections in the US has risen from about 176,000 a day just before Thanksgiving to more than 215,000 a day. It’s too early to calculate how much of that increase is due to travel and gatherings over Thanksgiving, but experts believe they are a factor.

Although lockdowns are no longer in effect in many parts of the country, stay-at-home orders have returned in some areas in an effort to contain the virus. Nearly 99 percent of California’s population of roughly 40 million people, for instance, has been told to remain at home except for essential work, shopping, and exercise.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued an advisory declaring “postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.”

Nevertheless, about 1.07 million people passed through the security checkpoints at US airports on Friday and again on Saturday, according to the Transportation Security Administration. Saturday’s volume was down 57 percent from the same time last year, the smallest year-over-year decline in daily traffic at US airports since November 22 as people began their Thanksgiving getaways.

Source: The Jamaica Observer 

Tribute to Lowell Hawthorne – CIN’s 5th Lecture Series Presenter

CEO of Golden Krust, Lowell Hawthorne (left) and CEO of CIN TV, Stephen Hill (right)


Today we pay tribute to an excellent leader and great friend of CIN TV, Lowell Hawthorne. Despite his passing, Mr. Hawthorne’s work continues to be of great impact on the Caribbean diaspora.

Created by Mr. Hawthorne, the US-based chain of Jamaica restaurants has been extremely successful as it now has over 100 restaurants in the United States and Canada and Golden Krust Patty is still a favorite among the diaspora. 

Obama memoir sells a record 1.7 million copies in first week


Former President Barack Obama’s “A Promised Land” sold more than 1.7 million copies in North America in its first week, roughly equal to the combined first-week sales of memoirs by his two immediate predecessors and among the highest ever for a nonfiction book.

Crown announced Tuesday that it had increased its initial print run from 3.4 million copies to 4.3 million. Sales also include audio and digital books.

“A Promised Land,” the first of two planned volumes, was published November 17 and sold nearly 890,000 copies just in its first day.

Among former White House residents, only Obama’s wife Michelle approaches his popularity as a writer. Her “Becoming,” published in 2018, has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and is currently in the top 20 on

George W Bush’s “Decision Points” sold 775,000 copies its first week and Bill Clinton’s “My Life” topped 1 million in eight days. The two presidential memoirs have now each sold between 3.5 and four million copies, totals that Obama’s book should easily surpass.

No nonfiction comes close to the pace set by JK Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” which in 2007 sold more than eight million copies in its first 24 hours.

News Source: Loop Jamaica 

Bloody Sunday – Girls, Grandma Among Four Slain

Anthony Minott/Photographer
Police personnel investigates a triple murder in Tryall Heights, near Lauriston, St Catherine, on Sunday evening. Two girls and their grandmother were slain.
Police personnel investigate a triple murder in Tryall Heights, near Lauriston, St Catherine, on Sunday evening. Two girls and their grandmother were slain.

The serene community of Tryall Heights in Spanish Town, St Catherine, was torn by terror on Sunday as gunmen targeted a family about 4:30 p.m., killing them execution-style.

There were maximum carnage and no mercy.

Having entered the home of 81-year-old Iciline McFarlane, sources report that the senior citizen was made to kneel and was shot dead before the killers trained their weapons on 10-year-old Christina McFarlane and her six-year-old sister, Mishane.

Both children were students of Spanish Town Primary School.

“Look how dem come and kill mi two pickney dem and I don’t know what fi do you,” the children’s father, whose name The Gleaner has not published because of security fears, said.

The children lived with their grandmother, who was affectionately called ‘Miss Icey, this newspaper understands.

Keisha Lewis, councillor of the Lauriston division, where the triple murder occurred, said the community was shaken by the tragedy and urged for a new resolve against crime and violence.

“We have to revisit the community policing aspect of the thing, and more police need to be here as last week, one was murdered and now three more,” Lewis said.

The local government representative described the octogenarian as a peaceful person.

Murders in the St Catherine North Police Division have risen by 35 per cent to 107, from 79, year-on-year, up to November 15. Shootings are up almost 20 per cent.

Meanwhile, in the St Andrew South Police Division, a man was gunned down at his gate and two women shot and wounded during a drive-by incident on Fitzgerald Avenue in Whitfield Town.

The incident happened around 7 p.m. Sunday.

Residents say more than 30 rounds were fired, sending bystanders scampering for cover.

The dead man has since been identified as Nicholas Thompson, otherwise called ‘Sterro’ or ‘Choops’.

Two women, aged 20 and 33, were also shot and injured. They were being treated last night at the Kingston Public Hospital.

Reports are that a grey Toyota Axio with four men aboard drove up and opened fire.

“All four doors open and four men with matic (automatic guns) came out and started firing. The people get flat and who run, run. The lady with her baby was also shot and the baby drop,” a resident said.

Murders have fallen 15 percent in St Andrew South this year.

Source: The Gleaner

Jamaica To Continue Quarantine Requirement For Travellers

North America accounts for the highest number of visitors to Jamaica each year.

The Government has ruled out lifting the mandatory quarantine requirement for international travelers, at least for now.

A Pan American Health Organisation official has declared that the measure was not necessary. 

But both Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton and the chief medical officer Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie argue that many countries from which Jamaica gets visitors have inadequate protocols to identify potentially infected travelers and therefore, it is critical for the quarantine requirements to remain.

“It is very important at this time with the numbers spiking in all the countries around us, that we ensure we abide with the restrictions we have in place,” said Bisasor McKenzie at a COVID press conference Thursday.

North America accounts for the highest number of visitors to Jamaica each year. 

Tufton said if Jamaica could be guaranteed that the countries with which it interacts have sufficient systems in place to quarantine or isolate persons suspected or confirmed to have the coronavirus, it would be in a position to abandon the requirements for travelers. 

“If you can’t be guaranteed of that, then clearly, you have to put your own precautions in the interest of your own population,” Tufton. 

However, Bisasor McKenzie said eventually, Jamaica will reach a point where it will abandon quarantine requirements for travelers.

“Gradually over time, you are going to see changes in recommendations that take us there,” the CMO said.


Source: The Gleaner